January 31, 2007

Intercom Telephone

We have a telephone that works as an intercom. The base is in the kitchen, one handset is in our daughter's room, and then other handset (which lives on the base) travels around, mostly to the family room in the basement. I can be in the basement, and connect to my daughter in her room. No more shouting at the bottom of the stairs for her to come downstairs. The ring for the intercom is different from the regular ring, so we know that it is an in-house call, not a real call. Once again, my husband proves himself right... he assured me I would really like this feature when he wanted to buy the phone. I am one to begrudge new techie purchases. Another one he assured me that I would enjoy is my mp3 player! And bingo... he was right again!

January 20, 2007

Reverse Graffiti

Interesting article... Clean Green Street Art

January 17, 2007

No More Blank Space

Do you want to know what one of my biggest pet peeves is? Advertising. Advertising on hockey arena ice. I sure would like to watch the players skate without looking at ice ads. Never mind all the ads on the boards. We are so bombarded. There are ads on feminine hygiene products. Soon the whole world will look like a Nascar car. There will be no more blank space. Enjoy your blue sky and green grass while you can... someone is going to put an ad there soon.

January 16, 2007


A while ago, I posted this. I was looking back at it and thought it would be fun to tell you about the meaning behind those things that helped to form me. The colour coding refers to different family members... red is dad, green is mom, purple is mom's parents, orange is dad's parents, turquoise is stepdad's parents.
I am from dusty poetry books,
from The Hobbit and pick-up-sticks.
I am from cedar shakes, nudes in the bathroom,
from willow trees and supper in the sun porch.
I am from stewed rhubarb, and the strawberry patch in June.
I am from euchre games and harvest moon boot dances, stacks of 78's,
and Rudolph flying through the night sky.
I am from rattle snakes on the Bruce Trail,
and questions answered with a question.
From used book stores and train stations and bird watchers.
I am from Boiler Beach and bagpipes,
rabbit paprikash, raspberry jello and caesar salad.
From a meat stealing grandpa, Aunt Ada's main course dessert,
and matching polyester dresses.
I am from treks through the cemetery, squished pennies,
and stone wall building.
I am from biting chipmunks, blue dragonflies,
flying hamsters and yellow Fiats.
I am from auctions, butcher blocks and Tuesday chip nights.
I am from love.
I am from the hands of my Creator.
  • dusty poety books - my dad had books coming out his ears, and my favourites were the poetry ones... Keats, Shelley, and Poe. He gave them to me when I was a teenager, and they are still treasures to me.
  • The Hobbit - dad introduced to me Bilbo Baggins and the rest of the Lord of the Rings crew in 1977, when I was eight years old. It is still one of my favourites.
  • Pick Up Sticks - one of our favourite past-times at dad's house.
  • cedar shakes - I helped watched my step father put these up on the gables of our home, and then he put some in my newly built bedroom in the basement. I loved them!
  • nudes in the bathroom - oh boy! When I was between first grade and fifth grade, my mom wallpapered our powder room with black and white nudes. It was completely normal to me. When we moved in the middle of fifth grade, she found the same wallpaper and put it up in that powder room. I can remember my friends freaking out because there were naked women in the bathroom.
  • willow trees - I loved to climb willow trees, and at two of our homes, I had a willow in easy distance. They were such wonderful places of imagination and dreaming. Sacred places.
  • supper in the sun porch - We had a sun porch off the garage at one home. It was just a roughly built screened in addition with that tacky green corrugated roofing. We lived in that room all summer... visited with guests, set the table for supper every evening, sat in the shade after swimming, played cards in the long summer evenings, sat bug-free in the nights. It was the best room in the house. The table was a giant spool for wire I think. We just put a cloth on it, and it was transformed!
  • We had rhubarb in the garden... loads of rhubarb. We froze it and would use it all year long. I still enjoy it, but I don't have any growing in my yard!
  • We had a big strawberry patch also. I hated that thing. Weeding, weeding, and more weeding. I don't even like strawberries much. Stupid strawberries! Just writing this makes me feel like I am ten years old and have just been asked to weed the strawberry patch!
  • euchre - We played this a lot. I was probably six when I first started learning. My stepdad would have some friends over and play and I always loved watching them. I still like to play, although I am not particularly brilliant at it.
  • harvest moon boot dances - Where do I start explaining this one? My grandmother and her sisters would put on big old boots and dance and sing when there was a harvest or full moon. I think there is home movie footage of this somewhere. I imagine alcohol was involved to some extent! I really don't know where this started... I cannot find any information on it.
  • stacks of 78's - At my grandparents' home, tucked away in a basement cupboard, were a bunch of old 78 records. I can't remember who the artists were, but I loved looking the stack. I wonder where they are now?
  • Rudolph flying through the night sky - At Grandma's house, from the window in her spare room, on Christmas Eve... we could see Rudolph coming... his red nose glowing through the darkness. We were convinced it was Rudolph! Get to sleep or Santa won't stop! Never mind that any other night of the year it was the light from a radio tower!
  • rattle snakes on the Bruce Trail - We went hiking with my dad and grandpa on the Bruce Trail a couple of times. My grandpa was a member. We found a rattle snake once near where we stopped to camp. I can remember my dad poking at it with a stick, and thinking "uh Dad... even I know not to poke at rattle snakes!" Of course, I didn't say that out loud!
  • questions answered with a question - My mom did this all the time. "Mom, can I go to Tracey's house?" "Is your room clean?" It drove me crazy... just answer the question please! I vowed I would never do this to my own kids. Guess what I do quite regularly?
  • used book stores - My dad would often take us to used books stores as he searched for volumes pertaining to whatever subject he was currently obsessed with. I love going to used book stores even now!
  • train stations - My dad lived very close to a train station. We could take the train alone from our town to his town, and walk to the house. Our greetings and farewells we often at that particular station.
  • bird watchers - Dad was an avid birder and I remember him sharing little discoveries with me, and he even bought me a bird book. My grandpa had a bird book and my sister and I would spend hours pouring over that book.
  • Boiler Beach - a spot where I spent days playing at the water's edge.
  • bagpipes - at my grandparents', every Saturday night in the summer, there was a bagpipe parade. I loved to go and see them play. To this day, the sound of bagpipes send shivers down my spine.
  • rabbit paprikash - my stepdad enjoys cooking, and as I was growing up, he would often cook a hungarian paprikash. One time he made it with rabbit instead of chicken, and tried to pass it off as chicken. My sister and I could tell the difference between a chicken bone and a rabbit bone. We were so grossed out, but we had to eat it anyway!
  • raspberry jello - my grandmother always had a raspberry jello prepared for me when I came to visit. The first thing I would do when I walked in the door, was go and look in the fridge to make sure it was there.
  • casesar salad - my mom makes the best caesar salad, and she made it before it was a popular menu item. I still look forward to it when we visit there now.
  • meat stealing grandpa - my grandpa P.J. would distract us at the dinner table and steal the meat off our plates. Without fail.
  • main course dessert - We would go visit Aunt Ada, who was quite elderly, and she would set the dinner table and call us to eat, and every dish she had prepared was dessert! The kids didn't mind. I might try that sometime!
  • matching polyester dresses - my stepdad's parents had a daughter who is around the same age as my sister and I. As kids, I can remember a few times going to visit for Christmas, and the three of us would receive identical dresses. I remember a pink one and a mint green one. Full- length. High, ruffled collar. And very polyester!
  • treks through the cemetery - Dad often took us through cemeteries, enlisting us to find a certain name on a headstone... for whatever he was researching.
  • squished pennies - Dad's backyard backed on to the railroad tracks. There were no fences at that time, and we would go down the hill and put a couple pennies on the track, run back up the hill and wait for the train to go by. Then we would race down to find the pennies the train had squished flat. We had a jar full of them. Gosh, I wouldn't let my kid do this... but it sure was fun. We would also feel the tracks or put our ears to them to listen for the train.
  • stone wall building - same backyard... Dad started making a stone wall... stones, mortar... I can't remember if he finished it. It was only a few feet high. Maybe it is still there.
  • biting chipmunks - I was preschool age... and managed to grab a chipmunk outside my grandparents' house. I must have been feeding them. It bit me and I had to get tetanus shots. Oh joy.
  • blue dragonflies - same grandparents' yard... I can remember being, at the same time, utterly fascinated and utterly terrified of the giant dragonflies in their garden. I was probably three or four.
  • flying hamsters - Uh oh! Not sure I want to reveal this. My sister would take her hamster with her when we went to dad's house. I remember being alone with the hamster and holding it in the palms of my hands and just flinging him up in the air and catching him again. Oh, I was horrible! How could I do that to the poor little hamster? I am ashamed. At the time, I thought it was hilarious.
  • yellow Fiat - my mom had a yellow Fiat. It was a cool car. She had a white Volkswagen too. I remember riding in the back part.
  • auctions - Dad took us to antique auctions all the time. I loved wondering around looking at all the items. Even more I loved the excitement of watching my dad bid on something! I haven't been to one in ages.
  • butcher blocks - Dad had a butcher block in the kitchen. It was so cool! I remember looking at all the cleaver marks on the top of it and daydreaming about the butcher that it used to belong to. I have secretly wanted a block of my own for years, but space just doesn't permit in this house.
  • Tuesday chip nights - Tuesdays were my mom's busiest and most stressful day at work. Often she was too worn out to cook supper on those nights, and we would eat chips for supper while we watched tv. Obviously, as kids, we loved those nights. Obviously, as adults, we would love to still have those nights.

Canada's War Brides

War brides en route to Canada aboard S.S. Letitia
waving goodbye to families and friends.
April 2, 1946. Liverpool England. Photo: Gloster, Barney J. PA-175794.

Last November, a group of 200 women travelled from all across the country to Pier 21 in Halifax. These women are war brides... women who met and married Canadian soldiers overseas and then travelled to be with their husbands once the war was over. Sixty years after arriving on Canadian soil, they returned to Pier 21 (now a museum) to remember and celebrate. Some couples even renewed their wedding vows. Almost 50,000 women came to Canada in this way, and one in thirty Canadians are directly descended from a war bride! It is an incredible piece of history... this unusual immigration. Their stories are fascinating. You can read some here and here.

January 08, 2007

Visit Laura for more menu ideas.

January 05, 2007

Wheels of Commerce

I received this painting as a Christmas gift from my husband. I had seen it in the fall and instantly loved it. I told him about it that day, and then never mentioned it again. And there it was on Christmas morning... I was very surprised! If you want an explanation of the art, leave a comment and I will tell what I know.

January 03, 2007

Uh Oh

My youngest daycare child went to the hospital yesterday evening with severe pneumonia. She didn't come to daycare yesterday, but stayed home with her mom, and mom took her to the clinic and then she went by ambulance to the hospital. Poor wee thing! If you pray, pray for a quick healing with no complications.

January 02, 2007

So it's Tuesday...

1. chicken and soup and stuffing in the slow cooker, turnip and peas on the side

2. garlic beef enchiladas

3. chicken pot pie

4. pork chops, rice, veggie

5. meatloaf, rice, veggie

Visit Laura for more menu ideas.